WEST PALM BEACH (970 WFLA) -- Getting ready for a hurricane... is a luxury many people can't afford. That's the sobering message from FEMA director Brock Long.
Speaking at the Governor's Hurricane Conference in West Palm Beach, he says more than half of Americans can't afford to put up even $500 for supplies and disaster mitigation.
"70 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck..." Long said, "... and it's estimated 50 to 60 percent can't put their hands on $500... not because they're in poverty, but because they're so highly leveraged." Long says it's unrealistic to ask most Americans to prepare for three to five days without food or supplies.
Long says FEMA and local emergency managers need to go back and look at disaster financial preparedness.
Long has another message for Americans... just because you don't live in a flood zone, doesn't mean your house won't get water. "Any house can flood... we learned that in Houston," Long said, where more than a million homes suffered flood damage.